Overweight people often view weight loss as a dreaded but necessary process to undergo in their pursuit of improved health and body image. Lets re-frame weight loss and look at it as an opportunity to explore new foods and recipes, a fun way to get more movement in your life and a chance to stretch your vision of who you are and more importantly, who you are becoming. The following tips will hopefully tickle your fancy and help turn your weight loss journey into an overture to an ever-improving “you”.
1) Transformation begins in the mind. Think “lifestyle” – not “diet”, think “feel better in my body” – not “weight loss” and lastly think “I love myself enough to make whatever changes are necessary” – not “I hate my body so much I need to change”.
2) Slow down to slim down. Practice mindful eating by engaging all your senses in the dining process. As you see, smell and anticipate your meal, pre-digestion begins. While chewing, focus on the texture, not just the taste and listen to the sound of your teeth shredding and grinding your food. Savor each bite and chew slowly and thoroughly (minimum 25-40 chews) before swallowing. Not only will this give your body time to realize it is getting full but it will also improve the absorption of nutrients.
3) Use the 80% Rule. The Japanese call it “Hara hachi bu” which means “Eat until 80% full”. Not only will you lose weight but the caloric restriction will promote longevity.
4) Boost your metabolism with cold water and hot spices. Drinking ice cold water causes the body to warm the water which temporarily raises the metabolism. Taking a cold shower increases circulation and metabolism by bringing more blood to the capillaries. And while we’re talking about “cold”, shivering will raise your body temperature and hence, your metabolism. As for the “hot stuff”, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric have a thermogenic effect on the metabolism and help regulate blood sugar as well.
5) Turn your kitchen black and blue. Our earliest ancestors, while foraging for food, used black, blue and purple as warning signs of potentially lethal food. Because the color blue rarely appears in our food supply naturally, it has been shown to act as a drug-free appetite suppressant. Try changing the refrigerator bulb to blue or eating off blue plates. Perhaps you would prefer a black or blue tablecloth.
6) Eat more negative calorie food. Food that takes more energy to digest than the calories it provides includes: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts), asparagus, leafy greens, celery, mushrooms, chili peppers, apples, berries, apricots, peaches, and pears.
7) Sleep your weight away. While you sleep your fat cells secrete a hormone called leptin, which suppresses the appetite and triggers the metabolism to burn more calories. For healthy weight and longevity women usually need at least 7 hours whereas men need about 8 hours of sleep.
8) Reduce stress. Our bodies respond to stress by producing a hormone called cortisol which encourages fat storage especially in the abdominal region. The following suggestions may help to reduce stress and enhance feelings of well-being:
- Laughter is truly the best medicine. It strengthens the immune system, relieves tension and releases dopamine, a pleasure-producing hormone.
- Spend time outdoors in harmony with nature.
- Exercise daily. Moving your body should not be a dreaded task so choose activities that you enjoy.
- Sing and dance to your favorite music.
- Express your feelings with respect for yourself and others.
- Practice mindfulness, living in the present moment.
- Try a Yoga, Tai Chi or Meditation class.
- Reduce caffeine and sugar consumption.
- Recite positive affirmations.
- Record your innermost thoughts in a journal.
- Treasure moments with loved ones.
9) Eat more fiber especially at breakfast. It will help you stay full longer. Try eating only whole grains, a few servings per day. Include legumes, nuts and seeds in your diet but keep the portions small. Don’t limit vegetables to mealtimes. Raw veggies can make a delicious snack. And lastly, eat the whole fruit rather than the juice.
10) Be gentle with yourself. Berating yourself only brings negative emotions and outcomes. Embrace the joy that an occasional indulgence brings and celebrate your accomplishments.